These are the essential resources I’ve used to sell 70,000+ fiction books over the last six years without an agent or publisher. Current as of October 6, 2021.

NOTE: I only list services I’ve actually used.


Listed price is for a complete cover (eBook and print-on-demand). Prices fluctuate due to exchange rates; they might also change depending on complexity or in the future. These are listed from most expensive to least; this is not a quality ranking. These designers can also create assets like Facebook banners, logos and so forth. Note that some designers have long lead times, so contact them a minimum of 3 months in advance of your publication date.


  • Tom Edwards (varies based on complexity of illustration; my cover was ~$950) (sci-fi)
  • Alberto Besi (varies based on complexity of illustration; my cover was $800)


  • I recommend Vellum ($29 per book/$249 for unlimited use). Beautiful, simple, and intuitive eBook & print formatting with a single click. Mac only, but I ran it on Windows with MacInCloud ($30 for 30 hours). The latency made that a little choppy…so I bought a Mac specifically to run Vellum. It’s that good.
  • Scrivener ($40 Windows/$45 Mac) and Adobe InDesign ($30/mo) can also format eBooks and print interiors, but are far less user-friendly.
  • Reedsy and Draft2Digital both offer free formatting tools.
  • Ampersand Book Interiors (custom quote) can create custom eBook/print formatting that matches your cover branding.


  • Mailerlite (free up to 1,000 subscribers; $15/mo for 1k – 2.5k subscribers): cheap, and solid if all you need to send are broadcast emails.
  • Convertkit (free up to 1,000 subscribers; $49/mo for 1k – 3k subscribers): I use this for all my lists; well-designed interface and great feature set for more advanced users. Only downside is price.


  • Book Edge ($15/mo): a lightning fast and much improved dashboard for displaying/analyzing your Amazon KDP sales data that requires no installation.
  • Story Origin ($10/mo): similar to BookFunnel and Prolific Works for cross promotions, but with more features (including tools to help you manage things like beta readers and audiobook codes) and a super-responsive developer who is constantly releasing updates.
  • Book Funnel ($5/mo): seamlessly delivers your free books (e.g., reader magnets) to email subscribers. Vital for building your mailing list. Also offers opportunities to join cross promotions with other authors.
  • Prolific Works ($20/mo): allows you to give away free books to Prolific Works’s readers and join cross-promotions with other authors to generate mailing list subscribers. Has waned a bit in effectiveness over the years versus BookFunnel and StoryOrigin, but still worth exploring if you’re doing cross promos.


These lists usually devolve into useless 35 page appendixes. I’ll be frank: I read a lot of books. Most are not good. These are indispensable.

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